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Timothy Donnelly




To wax a brick floor, pour a small amount of wax

     in the middle of a four-by-four-foot portion of the floor

and buff it with a mechanized buffer outfitted with a heavy-duty pad.

     Continue applying and buffing wax like this in squares until


the floor is finished. This floor is finished; these ceilings

     low; and temporal vibrations complicate the airspace like the lines

decorating the Nailsea glass, pulled and combed repeatedly

     for that feathery effect, the pattern on it not unlike the harbor’s


choppy surface bouncing evening sunlight through the dozens

     of clear panels in the arabesque but simple window of the Master

Mariner’s Room, whose floor is made of wood in wide unfinished planks as if

     a vessel set in motion by the wind. The word whim may derive from


the Old Norse for “to let the eyes wander,” and that’s exactly

     what they do: charts, sextants, compasses; polished whalebone

pointers; books in all shapes and sizes, including a sort of scrollable tablet

     I’d meant to look at more closely but didn’t; framed prints


in a child’s style; a shelf of decoys, carved soldiers, and what might

     be a bronze coelacanth all lined up as in a class portrait, or like a troupe

rehearsing in this space constructed in hopes that the sea captains of Gloucester

     would want to hold their meetings here, but they weren’t interested.

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